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How to boost your chances of interview success

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

After submitting an expertly targeted CV and a killer cover letter, you’ve wangled yourself an interview.

You’ve done everything right so far, but there’s still the small matter of impressing a panel of interviewers standing between you and that elusive job offer. Don’t sweat it, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of interview success.

Here we take a look at the five most effective ways to increase your prospects when it comes to that all-important interview.

1. Go beyond checking the company’s website

Checking out the ‘about us’ page on the company website should be the first bit of research you do, but it shouldn’t end there. The more background information you have, the better prepared you’ll be to answer any curveball questions, and you’ll feel much less anxious.

Take the time to look through the company’s annual report, press releases and read up on key competitors. You can also get a sense of the organisation’s culture by familiarising yourself with its mission, vision and value statements.

2. Be aware of your body language

Don’t underestimate the power of non-verbal communication. What you say during the interview will comprise only part of the overall first impression you make; the rest is down to your body language.

You can help communicate a positive message to your interviewer by keeping your posture and hand gestures open at all times. Avoid crossing your arms and looking down at your hands – these actions tend to give off defensive vibes.

Make sure you don’t overdo it though – the key is to stay measured and natural. You don’t want to make awkward movements that distract the panel.

3. Impress with an insightful question

By asking questions, you have a great opportunity to find out more about the employer and the job, but remember that the interviewers will still be assessing you.

Draw on your research and your understanding of developments in the industry to ask intelligent questions and add value to the discussion.  

It’s a sensible idea to have some pre-prepared questions up your sleeve, but don’t be afraid to let the natural flow of the conversation inspire you too.

4. Tell a compelling story

When answering interview questions, the trick is to engage the interviewers with what you’re saying. For example, if you’re faced with the task of describing the accomplishment you’re most proud of; don’t fall into the trap of just reciting the facts.

Set the scene, introduce the characters, provide the plot, and explain the challenge and how it was resolved before relating it back to the question you were asked. You’ll find that answering questions in this way allows you to talk enthusiastically with purpose and direction.

5. Be yourself and be authentic

Interview situations can feel unnatural; especially when your answers have been prepared and rehearsed. So, it’s important to try and relax into the conversation and allow yourself to build a rapport organically with your interviewers. It won’t hurt to let your personality shine through in some of the things you say.

At the end of the day, they not only want to hire the best person for the job, but also someone who will fit in with the team and culture.

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